I have gotten away from blogging about Real Estate, but after a rather passionate reaction to a friends real estate interest, I realized there was a lot I still wanted to share. I am quite passionate about real estate, maybe that makes me odd but, it is what I do and love. I live, breath, talk, sleep – real estate.
Most don’t know my history with real estate, so here’s a run down. When I was 10 and living in Palo Alto, I became obsessed with houses. My parents had long gone to open houses every Sunday around the town to get ideas for home remodeling, and I would sometimes tag along. It got to the point where my best friend Rima Kinsey and I would go on our own. “We are looking for our parents.” We thought we were so smart with that line.
In 1983 my family relocated to what I call “Gatsbyland”, the North Shore of Nassau County Long Island – a town called Old Westbury. Within a year my Mother went to work for Honey Karp Properties. Shortly there after Honey hired me to be the weekend receptionist and the “tech” trainer. My qualifications were the best at the time – I had been a computer user since 1980, and had attended Computer Tutor Camp at Stanford University, so I already knew not to spin a floppy disk around on a pencil (yes that was part of my early “Don’t” list for the agents), and taught them all a little bit of BASIC. I worked for Honey Karp for a number of years. My Mother didn’t last as long as I did. When I went to college I seriously considered getting my real estate license so I could sell while I went to Hofstra. I have always even made car buying decisions based on how easily I could get clients into my car.
Fast forward a few years, a few states I had lived in, and we land in Bellevue, Washington. I moved there blindly in 1995, I had one friend there, a love for technology, and the hope to get a job at Adobe, Microsoft or one of the biggies (I am a trained Graphic Designer/Editorial Designer), I only knew I always wanted to live in Seattle. I had no network, no connections, and a rather flimsy resume. The real estate became the key. I got a very entry level job at Windermere Real Estate, in their Bellevue East office. Great job, lots of fun, I was the DTP (Desktop publishing), I did the marketing flyers, brochures, and also listing management for the agents. I also observed some incredibly successful agents, and learned even more about the business. Knowing that someday I would sell myself, and emulate the successful ones.
I moved on from Windermere eventually to become the head of the Graphic Design/DTP/Art Director for the NorthWest Multiple Listing Service. I Art Directed the members news publication, and had a staff who was in charge of all the forms the MLS used, and modifying any changes to the contracts, and coordinating printing. My first management experience, and let me tell you – the 40+ year old German woman I managed didn’t always like to be managed by the 26 year old.
On the side I was doing web design/development, I had taught myself HTML in 1994, and was selling real estate agents website solutions, still trying to find a way into Microsoft. By 1996 I was, as I say it “a dime a dozen” web developer/designer, but the difference – which so few recognized was that I was a DESIGNER who DEVELOPED. Back then, and even now, I said “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” – some of the ugliest sites ever were designed by some of the best developers without any insight into design theory, concepts, psychology – this all pre-dated todays fancy terms like “Design Evangelist” or other such horse-excrement. I was still trying to find my way. And the opportunity was calling from Delaware.
The East Coast wasn’t as advanced as the West Coast, so I took the opportunity and moved East, and started racking up the big resume companies: AIG, Zeneca/AstraZeneca, FirstUSA, WingspanBank.com, MBNA, teaching web development and design, and so on. In 1998 my team at AIG won a Smithsonian award for innovation, that was pretty cool. In 2001 I was dot-com-downsized. And I made my move. I was married, had established myself well enough and we had the financial resources to take the “hit” of the loss of income.
I interviewed with only one Broker, and I signed up with his company, and his office. I was the first new agent to be permitted to take the pre-licensing class at the same time as the new agent training, because it was apparent to all I was a Natural. In a market where the average sales price at the time was probably $225,000 – I did $3mil in sales my first year, not bad for a rookie. And it has only gone up every year since then, even in a down market.
So why do I love real estate? I am not completely certain, I think it is in my blood. I am obsessed with houses, I have always watched the real estate market no matter where I lived, and took the pulse – knew the areas to be, and the price points, driven back roads to get to know the areas well, and studied the real estate section religiously. It seems to be a natural talent perhaps, not my only one, and I am happy to have it.
There are two kinds of real estate agents – there are the people that love it and come to it as a second career, and then there are the naturals who have gills and already breath it – I consider myself one of those. My whole life has always been about getting to be a real estate agent. Now I have been doing it since 2001. I still love the technology side of the business, and also am a natural in many areas of technology as I am most definitely a “digital native”.
Helping people find a home, or sell a house – is most of the most rewarding thing I can do. Guiding them through the biggest investment of their life, and helping people really break down their reasons for wanting to make a reason estate purchase. Guiding them in the right direction to make a purchase they will be happy about.
Sometimes my job is to help people realize they are not ready to buy or sell, and that is ok too. For me it isn’t about the close, it is about the relationship and customer service. I truly get excited when given the opportunity to talk about real estate, especially when my friends don’t know me for my work – but just know me. I enjoy sharing the knowledge, experience, and network I have build. I preach that passion is the key to success in life, and I am so lucky to be doing what I am passionate about. The other passion – “social media”, but anyone reading this already knew that.